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A developing story


   The 326-acre Muir Woods project for northern Amherst was subjected to nearly seven years of crutiny, debate, revision and compromise before Ciminelli Development could get the Town Board to rezone the property for development on Monday.

   Meanwhile, Benderson Development's proposal to redevelop the Buffalo Shooting Club in Amherst as a mixed-use community with retail, housing, hotel and community space has been around since early last year.

   It was on track to receive rezoning approval at the Town Board's next meeting, but got  sidestracked when board members voted 4-3 Monday to table an environmental impact statement on the project.

   At recent meetings, council members Daniel Ward and Deborah Bruch Bucki, as well as Supervisor Satish Mohan, have expressed objections to the idea of the board approving major land-use decisions at the end of the year.

   They argue that these decisions should wait until January when new board members take their seats. Instead, they said, "lame duck" board members are intent on "ramrodding through" major development proposals in a last-minute effort to help out their campaign-contributing developer friends.

   But council members Michael McGuire, William O'Loughlin and William Kindel, all of whom will be leaving office Dec. 31, say they wouldn't be fulfilling their oath of office if they refused to make any major decisions in the last month of the year.

   Developers also contend that the board that's most educated about a development is the board that should be voting on the project … essentially supporting the opinion held by McGuire, O'Loughlin and Kindel.

   The heated debate has been ongoing for weeks. Who's right?

   --- Sandra Tan


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